1960s was a time that many people look back on with fond memories, but which others blame for some of the failings of society. It was a time of freedom, a decade of social conflict, scandal, war, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.
In an age of increased middle class wealth, for the first time in history, people had buying power, rationing was well and truly a thing of the past, the population had greater employment opportunities and people were generally better off. Music and fashion became mass-market industries and were quick to cater to the demands of the youth market.In the 60s there were many generations, which had different outlooks on life in Britain. Some people had been through very difficult experiences in the 2nd world war, many had endured hardships, poverty and rationing, which only ended in 1954. There was a younger generation of “baby boomers”, who had been born after soldiers returned home from war.
These people became teenagers and young adults in the 1960s.The British economy began to grow again after recovering from the Second World War and their mass production of goods led to people being able to buy more things than ever before. The development of television and other ways of communication changed the way people lived, as well as their expectations. Although some people saw these developments as a waste of time, they thought people should be going out and doing something worthwhile with their lives, instead of watching T.V, listening to music etc.For young people there was a growing feeling of optimism; that anything was possible, they had new music and fashions as well as cars, which were now accessible.
The growing popularity of television helped spread popular culture around the globe, so trends could take off rapidly. Programs such as Top of the Pops influenced people to listen to pop music during the 60s. In 1962 the Beatles emerged from Liverpool’s cavern club.
Their first album “Please Please Me” became famous around the globe within a year. Teenagers were influenced greatly by musicians like the Beatles, boys tried to be like them by starting up there own bands and girls wanted to be seen with them as they thought they were attractive and some girls would faint with excitement at Beatles concerts. Music started to become hugely influential on the younger generation, although many of the older generation did not see this new change in music as such a positive thing.Many bands, such as the Rolling Stones, were constantly shown taking drugs and drinking alcohol in the news. Therefore fans followed them and started taking drugs and alcohol thinking it was cool, this lead to a huge increase in drugs being used and drug addiction. The older generation disaproved of the Rolling Stones and they thought they were iresponsible, reckless and a bad role model to their young fans. My grandmother thinks that The Rolling Stones were “an unruly, lewd, scruffy lot” who glamourised drug abuse.
Although she liked The Beatles and The Bachelous and their music, she thought they were “Smartly dressed and had smart haircuts”.The 60s was a decade when fashions changed continuously and young people appeared to have more freedom than ever before. The fashion revolution burst onto the high streets, led by designers like Mary Quant. Some adults found it hard to tell boys from girls. Both dressed in t-shirts and jeans, boys grew their hair long and girls copied the model Twiggy by cutting theirs hair short. Boutiques sprang up to sell the new fashions, which were colorful, cheap and informal. This was good for teenagers as it gave them a huge variety and choice, which they had never had before.The introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1963 gave new freedom to women and changed their lives forever.
It changed the social structure, and changed family size. Many young women thought that it would bring them great freedom and they no longer have to worry about getting pregnant. Many of the older generation thought that the contraceptive pill would increase the promiscuity of the young people and that sexual transmitted diseases would spread rapidly.Although for many people the sixties was a time where things began to go wrong in British society. Some thought teenagers behaved badly and the older generation was being left out. They thought young people were interested in with things that were unimportant such as pop music, fashion, drugs and sex, they would have preferred it if they were more concerned about politics, helping the poor etc. Opinions like these are usually from older people who were taught to respect their parents and behave well.
And seeing all these rebellious teenagers and young adults shocked and aggravated them.The Sixties was a time of great change with all the new, exciting, radical and dangerous events and trends, the movement of youth culture was demonstrated by the hippies who used slogans such as “Make love not war” whose moments were the Summer of Love. The Summer of Love refers to the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 young people came together in San Francisco, creating a phenomenon of cultural and political rebellion. For many people this was a good thing as it gave them a chance to protest for their believes and this gave them a alot more freedom.
Older people, who had copied their elders when they were young and led very disciplined and restricted lives, thought that this new generation were unconventional, irresponsible and immature. My grandfather has very different views on the “permissive society”. He said it started the “erosion of the family unit” and he thinks that this is still a problem in our society today. He said, “Hippies weren’t interested in work, they mostly lived of benefits and were therefore idle, unemployed scroungers”.In conclusion the 60s was a time of huge change, which altered peoples lives forever.
Many of these changes have benefited our lives, such as the contraceptive pill, which has helped to stop the world being over populated and allowed women more freedom to go to university and to choose when to start a family. Other things such as T.V and the influence it has on society still causes people to have different opinions today. Many things like the introduction of recreational drugs have blighted the lives of people and are still a major problem in Britain today.